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As a web designer, you know how saturated the market is and how much competition you’re against on a daily basis. That’s why it’s beneficial to choose a specific niche to concentrate your efforts on. In the marketing world, this is called “to niche down”. When you niche down, you select a specific client base to offer your services to. It’s highly probable that if you’re reading this article, you have been working as a “generalist”, offering your web designs to any type of business or organization.
In this post, we’ll go over the benefits of choosing a specific niche for your web design business. First, we’ll review what a niche is. Then, we’ll cover what it means to niche down in-depth. We’ll continue with how niching down sets you up as an industry expert, and finally, how to choose your perfect web design niche.
What Does it Mean to Niche Down?
The Definition of “Niche”
Niche, sometimes pronounced “nitch” is a word that describes a position perfectly suited for the person who occupies it. In the marketing lexicon, “niche” is the noun used to describe a specific area of marketing that has a particular group of customers, products, and requirements. It can also be used as an adjective in the term “Niche Marketing” which is a more directed use of the term.
The Definition of “Niche Down”
When you niche down, you analyze the market to choose a specific section of it that suits your business best. The term is very common in the blogging world. “Lifestyle” blogs, for example, don’ have a specific niche. The usual topics in a lifestyle blog are health, food, beauty, family life or student life, maybe some entertainment topics are thrown in. When the blogger starts to monetize their blog, they niche down to better reach a target audience. A lifestyle blog easily transforms into healthy eating or tips for college living.
Another example: an importer of inexpensive products from China starts importing any sort of product without a clear theme. They find that the bestsellers are the laptop cases, backpacks and cable holders. They niche down to only sell products for laptop warriors and direct the marketing efforts specifically to them.
Now that you know what a niche is and what it means to niche down, let’s take a look at how doing this sets you up as an expert in your field. But first a look at the different possible ways to niche down.
Different Types of Niches
There are different ways to craft a niche for your web design business. The most obvious is to choose a specific industry or profession. For example, musicians, or schools, or churches. But there are other styles of niches that can also benefit your business. Don’t choose a specific industry but instead a style of work. Offer your services to freelancers, digital nomads or creative professionals. These people can have different kinds of jobs but they can still be grouped in a category or niche.
As another example, you can choose to offer minimalist websites or feminine websites or even fully customized and interactive websites, for any industry. The clients you attract with these types of niches will choose you for your particular design style. You can niche it down even more and offer something like minimal websites for life coaches or fully customized e-commerce websites.
Furthermore, you can niche yourself according to your own lifestyle. Let’s say you are a stay at home mom and before you started designing websites you used to sell personalized baby name posters online. With this knowledge, you can niche your business to offer web design services to moms with creative handmade businesses. You have first-hand knowledge about what they are going through. This means that you “get them” better than any other generalist web designer could.
How Does Choosing a Niche Set You Up As An Expert in Your Field?
In the section above we explained how there are different ways to niche down. In the last example of the mom, we mentioned how she would “get” the client because she knew exactly what they were going through. This is the basis of how having a niche sets you up as an expert. Because you “get it”. The communication between you and the client is easier and more direct, with less unnecessary baggage and confusion.
When you offer your web design services to a niche that you are comfortable with you are on your way to becoming a needed asset in their circle. You know their pain points so you can offer solutions on their website. You understand their lifestyle. As a mom web designer, you understand why your mom client couldn’t send the content for the about page due to their toddler getting a cold. These little things are gold nuggets in your business.
In a niche market, the best promotion is word of mouth. As long as you did a good job with their web design your customers will tell their friends in the same industry about you. It won’t take long until you are the name to call when someone in that niche needs a website.
Use your niche specifications as part of your elevator pitch. For example, if your niche is photographers your pitch can be something like; Jasper Web Design, creating stunning websites for photographers since 2015. Put it on your business card, have it on your social media bios, use relevant hashtags, let the world know!
When you are the web design expert for a particular field you can charge more for your services. This doesn’t just make life better, it also frees up your time to do other things you like doing.
How to Choose a Niche for Your Web Design Business
The easiest way to choose a niche is to look at yourself. Do you love photography, or do you hang out at music concerts a lot, or did you use to have a restaurant so know the ins and outs of the industry? Look at your own interests and skills, not just from right now but from your entire life. For example, remember that summer when you helped your cousin with his carpentry business and really like the whole vibe of it? There might be lots of custom carpentry artists needing websites to grow their business! The idea is to look at things you really enjoy and will feel a connection to.
If you aren’t too sure about what really interests you or you connect with many different things, take a deeper look at your current web design clients for some inspiration. Make a list of your current and past clients and analyze the following things. Here’s a handy checklist.
- Did this customer find me through word of mouth?
- Was the initial stage before the contract easy and straightforward?
- Did they understand my style of working and I theirs?
- Did I know their industry well?
- Was it easy to work with them?
- Did I feel comfortable?
- Did this client pay well?
- Is their industry one that I could really get into?
Use the checklist for all the clients you’ve had in the past year or two. The ones with the most “yes” answers are the ones to look at more closely. Look at which industries are repeating with the most amount of “yes” answers and start pinpointing your niche. If you can’t figure it out on your own, ask for some brainstorming help from your colleagues, friends or family.
There are even courses online that can help. Our favorite is the ones from Flaunt My Design and from Marketing Mentor. Both those sites can help you figure out the perfect niche for your web design business. This blog post from Free Code Camp will also be of great help.
In this post we looked at why choosing a niche can benefit your web design business. Apart from setting you up as an industry expert it can also make you happier with your work, help you earn more money and have more free time to do other things.
Had you considered finding a specific niche for your web design business before? Have you already done it?
Share your thoughts with the community in the comments and let us know what benefits you found from choosing a specific niche.
Featured Image via Pavlo Plakhotia / shutterstock.com